Belinda Brown: ‘Getting women into the workplace encourages replacement, not growth’

Our thanks to Pauline for pointing us towards a highly insightful article by Belinda Brown, a social anthropologist, for Men for Tomorrow. It points to compelling evidence that driving more women into the workplace doesn’t lead to growth, despite the government’s rhetoric. It leads to higher unemployment among men, and unemployed men already outnumber unemployed women by a ratio of 4:3. The state drives women into employment as part of its efforts to economically emasculate men.

We recently published a blog piece on the economic emasculation of men by the state and organisations with a vested interest in the matter – ‘big business’, employers’ organisations, professional bodies…

Belinda Brown’s article starts:

Lucy Powell, the woman who advocates universal free childcare, has been made Shadow Minister for Childcare and Early Years. This could be not just bad news for children and families. Increases in female employment could have a detrimental impact on the economy as well as women and men.
Since 2011 almost 200,000 women in two-parent families with dependent children have re-entered the workplace. While this has indeed contributed to an increase in the employment rate of women a look at the Labour Force Survey shows this has been matched by an increase in rates of inactivity by men.

An illusion of growth
This pattern is not new. Ever since women started entering the workforce in significant numbers increases in female employment are not accompanied by growth or even stability in rates of male employment. Rather, as rates of female employment go up the rate of male employment goes down.  And whilst female rates of inactivity decrease, male inactivity is on the rise. What this means is that far from the scenario of growth which the advocates of female employment would have us believe what we really have is a pattern of replacement. A regular zero-sum game.

The link to the article is here, click on the image of the first page of the article to access it.

‘Men for Tomorrow’ looks like an interesting organisation, and I note Erin Pizzey was a founding Patron. The following information, the full content of the ‘About’ page, takes up the rest of this post:

Men for Tomorrow has been set up by the Hera Trust to explore and promote ways of improving men’s positive contribution to communities and families in contemporary society. It will carry out research into men’s behaviour and attitudes, and produce reports with social policy recommendations. The work of the organisation is directed by Geoff Dench, whose research has demonstrated the need for such a body.

The rationale for Men for Tomorrow

There are growing signs in Britain today of men failing to contribute adequately to the communities they live in. It is widely understood that de-industrialisation and the reduction in jobs depending mainly on manual labour have increased male unemployment in recent decades. What is less appreciated is that this has been aggravated by rising levels of basic non-employability, absent fatherhood, crime and suicide; all of which can be seen as indicators of a lost generation of men. Future generations are in danger of repeating the problems of today. This waste of manpower is something the country can ill afford at the present time or in the future; and most women do not want it either, for their husbands, partners or sons. MfT is committed to throwing more light on what is going on, and to helping draft policies which prevent current problems becoming entrenched.

Several organisations have looked at aspects of men’s behaviour in the UK in recent years. But they have been reluctant to question the libertarian assumption that men and women enjoy the same interests and motivations, and respond to social influences in just the same way. MfT will broaden the debate by interrogating research data in an objective way while being open to traditional understandings of men’s difference, as explored in Geoff Dench’s books Transforming Men and The Place of Men (see ‘publications’).  This will help to identify the most effective ways of looking at men’s behaviour.

MfT will carry into a new area work done recently by Geoff Dench at the Hera Trust on women’s attitudes. This work is based on the insertion by the Hera Trust into annual British Social Attitudes surveys over the last ten years of questions about family relationships – thereby increasing possible analytic links between private realm and public realm behaviour and attitudes. Much of the resulting analysis was presented in the report What Women Want.

This analysis found that libertarian valuing of female economic independence comes mainly from those women with careers, whose own paid work is fulfilling in itself, and whose domestic lives are often propped up by other women. Most other women, especially working-class women, have never abandoned traditional ideas about sexual interdependence, in which men have an important role contributing to the family income. Indeed such views have been reviving in recent years among younger women – not least among young single mothers. But social and benefit policies in Britain are still heavily influenced by progressive values. This may contribute to the de-motivation and marginalisation of some men. MfT will explore men’s behaviour in the light of existing policies, to see if more can be done to help boys and men to make a worthwhile contribution to society and so avoid becoming excluded from it.

Founding Patrons:

  •     Frank Field
  •     Oliver James
  •     Erin Pizzey

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